Pubdate: Sun, 24 Apr 2005
Source: Jacksonville Daily Progress (TX)
Copyright: 2005 Jacksonville Progress


Hats off to the local, state and federal law enforcement agencies that 
participated in this week's crackdown on Internet pharmacies that led to 20 
arrests, including some in Tyler.

That news came during the same week the Associated Press released the 
findings of a study showing one in five - 20 percent - of all American 
teens have abused prescription painkillers, a number the AP said was higher 
than the number of teens who have "experimented with Ecstasy, cocaine, 
crack or LSD."

This is another example of the classic law enforcement debate: is this a 
result of better enforcement or less crime?

Maybe neither, in this case.

The same study also showed one in 11 teens had abused over-the-counter 
products such as cough medicine.

"For the first time, our national study finds that today's teens are more 
likely to have abused a prescription painkiller to get high than they are 
to have experimented with a variety of illegal drugs," Partnership for a 
Drug-Free America Chairman Roy Bostock told the AP. "In other words, 
Generation Rx has arrived."

It makes perfect sense.

The latest generation is more likely to engage in an indoor activity such 
as video games or surfing the Web, as opposed to choosing an outdoor activity.

The Internet is both a blessing and a curse, based on its ability to bring 
an infinite, largely unfiltered amount of information inside your home 24 
hours per day.

"The Internet has become an open medicine cabinet," Drug Enforcement 
Administrator Karen Tandy told the AP. "Strangers are peddling drugs in 
your home and you don't even know it."

Based on the sheer number of unsolicited e-mails any user receives on a 
daily basis and the natural curiosity of someone with time and money on 
their hands, it's only a matter of time before a child or teen repeatedly 
exposed to flashy sales pitches for Xanax or vicodin decides to give it a try.

That's precicely what made Joe Camel, The Marlboro Man and the Coors Light 
Twins so popular.

And besides, what could be safer than experimenting inside your own home?

Unlike cigarettes in a home where parents don't smoke, or beer in a 
household where parents don't drink, there is no actual proof of age 
required beyond a credit card verification to purchase these drugs on the 

And, since the drugs are legal under certain common conditions, it's 
difficult to determine who has them illegally even if caught.

In other words, it's easier and safer to get drugs on the Internet than 
buying from a friend or neighbor.

Annonymity between buyer and seller ensures that only the sloppiest user or 
the sharpest watchful eye can lead to an arrest.

Drug abuse of any kind is dangerous because it can permanently alter the 
delicate chemistry of the brain, which causes both astounding highs - at 
first, anyway - and crushing withdrawals.

No one starts smoking, drinking or using drugs wanting to get addicted.

You wouldn't let a drug dealer into your home, but, left unchecked, the 
Internet is doing just that.

Don't leave the rest to chance.
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MAP posted-by: Elizabeth Wehrman